Please don’t judge me. I’m really not a mean person.
My older son is now twelve and a half years old and it seems adolescence has arrived. Eye rolling, argumentative behavior, and sarcasm seems to spew from his body.
But what makes it harder is that he’s only like this with me. To friends, other adults, even my husband, he is a charming, likable, sweet boy. But with me… I get full on puberty boy!
I have tried all sorts of things to break through what I perceive as a thick layer of resistance to anything I have to say or any opinion I may have. It’s even worse should I dare to suggest any ideas on choices he can make or impose expectations on him, like picking up after himself or doing chores.
I’ve tried gentle tenderness, logic, tough love and compassion.
But nope. He is not having me. At all.
I think the worst part is that we emphasize communication in our house. And outside the house I make a concerted effort to understand others and connect with them. I’m usually pretty successful. Except for when it comes to my own son.
This isn’t a blog where I have any solutions. I’m deep in it with my son and can’t seem to break through. But here’s what I’ve been doing: Praying. Every day. Sometimes several times a day for the ability to find a small crack in his tough exterior to slip through and share the truth of how I feel about him: deep, undying and eternal love; gratitude for the opportunity to mother him; and such a profound sense of awe at the person he is beneath the behavior.
And I continue to look for the opportunities this situation is presenting to me. Because the truth is that I’ve called my son into my life for my healing and learning too. So I look to see where I may be holding judgments? I find there are many around myself and my ability as a Mom. I’d like to be better. I’d like to be more patient. And there are judgments around his behavior too. So I practice a lot of Compassionate Self-Forgiveness. I forgive myself for the judgments I place on myself and my son.
I also look to see what projections are present. Is my upset with his behavior more about a frustration I may be feeling with myself? And what action steps can I take to change my feelings about my own experience? How can I re-focus my feelings and shift my behavior and the way I’m being with myself? I know that determining this will clear space for a more loving relationship.
Because the truth is that there is so much going on with him that he just doesn’t even understand. Hormones shoot through his body and affect his moods in much of the same way I’m experiencing in peri-menopause. But I have the distinct advantage of years of wisdom and awareness of my body. And even with that, I still cannot control how those hormones affect me!
And I see how conflicted he is in drawing the line between being an independent little guy and a boy who just wants his mom. It must be very hard.
So with every eye roll and every argument, I will continue to dig deep and reach for compassion. And remember the beauty of the baby he was, his curiosity as a toddler, the awe in his face as he learns something new and the talent and joy he shares when he sings.
And maybe, just maybe I will be rewarded with a smile or a warm hug from time to time.
If not, I will survive. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to experience the joy of puberty from a parent’s perspective.
He is a wonderful teacher.
P.S. As I was driving my son to his orthodontist appointment today I was surprised to look over and find his face wasn't buried in his phone. I asked if he’d forgotten it. “No Mom, I just wanted to talk with you.” Wow! What a gift! Maybe I’m not so bad after all…